Benedictine College creates Byron G. Thompson Center for Integrity in Finance and Economics

Country Club Bank CEO Paul Thompson and Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis stand before a portrait of Byron G. Thompson at the newly dedicated Center for Integrity in Finance and Economics named for him. (photo courtesy of Benedictine College)

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Benedictine College and the Thompson family are pleased to announce the creation of the Byron G. Thompson Center for Integrity in Finance and Economics at its main campus in Atchison, KS. Officially dedicated on Byron Thompson’s birthday, July 22, the Thompson Center will carry out the legacy of Byron’s lifelong commitment to integrity in finance and economics, supporting the next generation of ethical leaders in the financial professions.

The Thompson family has generously given a leadership gift to Benedictine College, establishing The Thompson Center in honor of their late father. Country Club Bank and Platte Valley Bank also join the family’s contribution in appreciation of Byron’s critical leadership as chairman to each organization.

“Byron Thompson is the model of the kind of banker a Benedictine education creates: principle-centered leaders who thrive in the business world, in the community, and in their own family,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “The Byron G. Thompson Center for Integrity in Finance and Economics was formed in order to shape and inspire a new generation of financial leaders who follow in Byron Thompson’s footsteps and who will ‘do well and do good.’”

“Benedictine College helped shape my father into the truly great man that he was,” said Byron’s son, Paul Thompson, President/CEO/Chairman of Country Club Bank. “It is a privilege for our family and bank group to ensure his legacy and values will live on at Benedictine College, his alma mater, and help create future generations of ethical leaders.”

The previously dedicated Thompson Trading Room, part of the Benedictine College School of Business, was the first initiative in developing future leaders with the ability to analyze and manage the financial forces that shape our economy. The Trading Room features a video wall and streaming stock market ticker, along with a big screen for meetings and academic instruction.

The cross-disciplinary Thompson Center will sponsor annual lectures each spring and fall and will award the Thompson Medal annually to a leader in finance, economics, banking or entrepreneurship who exemplifies Byron Thompson’s ideals. The Thompson Center will also establish the Thompson Fellows program: a cohort of students who earn the right to invest a significant portion of the College’s endowment in order to get hands-on experience in managing a diverse portfolio of investments within the constraints of institutional policy. These fellows will be eligible for special internships in banking and finance to further develop their real-world experience.

When Byron G. Thompson died in 2015, he was called “a Kansas City hero” and “no less than an icon to our town” in The Kansas City Star. He left behind an incredible legacy of faith, family and community. His love for his wife Jeanne and their 11 children and 47 grandchildren was his “True North,” the defining aspect of his character and his proudest accomplishment.
Thompson’s integrity made an enormous impact on Benedictine College. In 1955, when he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Thompson left students with a stirring call to action in his valedictory message in the college newspaper to “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” calling them to “attain physical, intellectual, emotional, and social maturity… but moral and religious maturity as well.”

There followed a full life in which Thompson did exactly that. He served as a B-26 crew chief in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, achieved impressive results in a banking career that touched seven decades, and became a community leader, serving in several civic, religious and charitable organizations.

In 2015, Thompson closed out his life, less than two months before he died, by returning to Benedictine College, an institution he had served in several capacities. “I’ve had a full life of faith, family and friends,” he told well-wishers at his 60th class reunion. “And then it’s about finish. Finish your life well. That’s the target. That’s what I hope I did.”

“Benedictine College is humbled and honored by its association with Byron G. Thompson, a truly great man who exemplifies the Benedictine values of prayer and work,” Minnis said.

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Wednesday
August 15, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph